Monthly Archives: January 2012

Why music videos are great, or: Paula’s Von Guten Eltern

Today I will introduce you to the wonders of German music. And German music videos. Which is just a way too blown up way of starting to talk about the German band Paula (that exists since 1997) and their 2001 single Von Guten Eltern (To Come of Good Stock, basically) which is a nice little tune (sorriez for not being able to dig up an English translation of the lyrics for you guys) with a fantastic music video. Which is really all it needs to get me blogging, so let’s get right to it.

#1 Pastel Colors
You have obviously not been closely following this blog (as if there were anything better to do…) if you do not know that I have UNDYING ETERNAL OVER THE MOON L.O.V.E. for pastel colors. And yes, my love comes in caps. Aren’t those pastel tones just too pretty? The whole thing lulls you in. How much fun it must have been to choose furniture, fashion and make up and blend it all into this pastel-colored domesticity-leaking nightmare dream? And have some blurry filter over it? Welcome to my life in ten years, ya’ll. Better learn to play an instrument.

#2 Polishing fruit
She is polishing the apple in her neatly arranged fruit basket. While this might be enough said already, I want to point out how very alien the notion of doing such a thing seems to me who is fundamentally incapable of keeping space he occupies tidy. Yet at the same time I am all like “right on!” and want to run and polish all bananas, pineapples and coconuts I can find.

#3 Those twins
They are like Alice (the wonderland type) and Tweedledum and Tweedledee (wonderland inhabitants) mixed into one, yes, actually, two. Parted hair, blue pastel outfits and creepy stares (and a bunny! Do not forget the bunny!) make for effective, ermh, screen-time. But seriously (haha, kidding) how much fun are they? And do you also wonder if they are identical or fraternal twins? Or maybe not even twins at all? I bet five Tatooine Shillings on fraternal twins. Anyone take me on?

#4 Eating chocolates
Eating chocolates is in itself one of the most awesome concepts in the whole wide universe, of course. Eating them on your bed because you’re pastel-colored world is just a tad too much to bear and stuffing way to many at the same time into your singing mouth – BEAUTIFUL! People everywhere should just lock themselves into their bedrooms and stuff themselves with way too many chocolates from time to time. The world would be a better place. And yeah, it totally has to do with all the guilt and shame that follows.

#5 Ending with the smiling girl
Okay, technically it ends on a metronome, but you get my point, right before that. Now if you had a withered stone-cold little heart – like me – you could come to think that the blissful picture painted in this video is full of irony and critical commentary. Yeah, I know, GASP!! How could you even, what the, I can’t, even. So while this is thus firmly established as fact, what better way to melt our hearts into pools of joy and happiness by ending on a cute young girl smiling full on and close up in the camera? No better way says I, and feel like the world is such a wonderful place.

Wenn man sich gut benimmt, hat man sich wieder lieb.

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Feasting on A Feast for Crows – Reviewing Book 4 of A Song of Ice and Fire

I kind of did not fulfil my promise to myself to review the Song of Ice and Fire novels shortly after reading them, because now it’s been a good few months since I read its fourth instalment A Feast for Crows and I am already well into novel no. 5. Can’t help that now but can certainly help not having a review of AFFC yet by, well, posting this very one.

via fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com

A Fest for Crows, of course also written by George R. R. Martin, is the fourth novel in the Song of Ice and Fire series and was published in 2005, after much delay and some shuffling of chapters, cause initially what is now book 5 (A Dance with Dragons) was set to be the title with the two volumes incorporated, which would have been way too long. As it stands, they are two separate books, with both of them covering some of the same in-story time, thus running parallel, although focusing on different characters in different locations.
I will stick to my drill of talking about the things that I really liked about this novel, about the things I didn’t like, about what left me going whatevs and provide some little why.
As usual, a SPOILER ALERT: I will be talking about everything that has happened until the end of this book no. 4, maybe even glimpse at events in book no. 5, so if you haven’t read them yet and intend to do so in the future I strongly recommend you to save the read of this review for later.

Really Good:

Cersei POV
I was positively surprised with the Jaime POV in the last instalment and I am ever more so positively surprised by the Cersei POV we get in this one. Plus, I’m also really digging that we now have both kinda side-to-side that give us a perfect insight into what is the deterioration of the relationship of Jaime and Cersei because a) Jaime continues to become a better person and an ever more likeable character, and b) Cersei continues to suck and it even grows worse, now for all of Westeros to see. The demise of Cersei is inevitable, but my bet is, that the big bang has yet to arrive in that plotline. I wonder if in the end there will be some insight on her part, but as of now, it is like a horrible car-crash happening in slow-motion and you just can’t look away. Painful to watch, painful to read her making up arguments as to why her actions are justified and right, but also oddly fascinating at the same time.
What I am not a super-fan of though is that apparently all the female characters have to have their share of lesbian sex and female admirers while the same is not happening at all on the male side, leaving me wondering: what in-story social conventions justify these occurrences, my answer being none, thus my suspicion being that the author gets to write out some fantasy of his. But hey, I might be wrong.

King Tommen
Oh, Tommen, you poor boy. Having to have Cersei as a mother and being king while having no clue really, but let us all just admit it: Finally, rid of Joffrey, he is kinda awesome, because he is so cute and might just become an awesome king, if there wasn’t, umh, his mother. But still, his love of putting seals on documents, his friendship with Margaery and his budding defiance of his mother: all pluses.

Lancel
Becoming all pious and shitting all over his Lordship? Sweet, actually. I can’t even really tell you why, because the whole pious/religiously-fanatic thing pisses me off story-telling wise a lot of times, but in his case it works to his favour as a character. And I respect him much more now.

Jaime
Ok, I am obviously on a Lannister roll here, but hey, we clearly cannot ignore them. Jaime continues his journey to The Side Of Awesome and restores order where he can, sees how vile and stupid Cersei is in what she does and ends a siege that was set to be a bloodshed bloodlessly. I am just speculating here, but we probably will read about more kick-ass-ness from Jaime and the future and frankly, whoda thunk that after Game of Thrones?

via thebookpeople.co.uk

Brienne
Jaime leads us of course to Brienne who continues to rule and does what Arya did before: give us eager readers insights into what it is like to live in Westeros as one of the common folk due to all her meeting-ups with guys and gals all over the riverlands, tracing the false hound (who deserves honourable mentions for extra-creepiness and appalling levels of violence) and connecting to people she’d never thought she had to and would connect with, which is, I guess, an ongoing theme now in Ms. Tarth’s life, and for the better. She also meets up with Catelyn again and that obviously does not go so well, but I guess it’s safe to say that the final verdict on her POV has not been spoken and we are probably all right in suspecting that she will be the one to get Lady Stoneheart back on the right track again.

The Tyrell’s at court
Well, Loras kinda sucks, but let us all see how his near-fatal wound plays out. But my oh my, Margaery? Gurrl is finger-snapping in Cersei’s face with every move she makes and does so very cleverly and skilled. Obviously, she has had some good teaching from her grandmother, but I am really liking the direction this is going. Busting Cersei’s ass and having her imprisoned by the Faith? Oh no she didn’t!

Arya
Reminiscent of Jaquen H’qar Arya enters the House of Black and White and dude, does that place seem to be creepy. I’m not the biggest fan of her having-to-go-out-in-the-real world shenanigans and would rather read more about what actually happens in this temple, but I admit to liking the encounter of Arya with Sam (who of course also continues to rule, because he is fucking Samwell Tarly), even though both of them did not realize whom they have just met. I am intrigued to learn about which direction Arya’s stay there will take. Will she really lose herself and become thus – what? A better person? A better assassin? A better queen? Or will it help strengthen her without ultimately having to give up her identity as a Stark? This is actually one of the storylines really keeping me on edge.

via fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com

Really Bad:

The Faith Militant
And shit is going to hit the fan.
Wow, not that we needed more religious fanatics going all nuts over everyone else in Westeros, now the insitutionalized Faith of the Seven gets back its rights to organize militarily and boy is that going to get shitty in the near future. No fun there. And having Cersei’s plan backfiring on her leading to imprisonment in the Great Sept, kinda nice, but then again, this is going to go horrible for her and I already feel kinda bad. I see Lord of Light and Faith Militant groups slicing each other up all over the continents, and I am not liking it. Plus, I feel cheated. The Seven seemed to have so much more potential as something myserious pitched against the Old Gods, now they are just being instrumentalized for military purposes. It is a pity, says I.

The Greyjoys
I don’t know why, they still leave me supercold. I like to read about Asha, because she is fun, but everyone else in that family? Assholes left and right. And their struggling for leadership isn’t exactly what I’d call endearing, so no, no love from me for the Greyjoys and their storyline.

via fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com

Really Undecided:

Lady Stoneheart
I still don’t know how I feel about Catelyn coming back as Lady Stoneheart, for several reasons. My major issue is that it diminishes the impact of her death-scene that hit me so unexpected and came as a real shock (probably the first real shock after Ned’s execution). My second issue lies with the leverage it gives R’hllor, that sick bastard of a God, cause we all know he’s being credited for her resurrection now. I like the idea of her being this corpse-like existence now (it’ll be fun to see that played out in the TV series), but I am not sure what I feel about her being only driven by vengeance. She was so before to a large extent, but with her humanity intact, and now that this is gone she is really just a hateful monster. Which diminishes the still-alive-Catelyn as a character IMHO. My guess for the wrap-up of that story-line is that she has to die for realz next time on the hands of somebody who loves her, my bets being on Brienne, but I also believe that we’re gonna see her wreak a lot more havoc on everyone’s asses until then.

Dorne/The Martells
The story of the Martells intra-family struggles to avenge the death of Oberyn Martell and seek vengeance for what happened to Elia Martell years past is a messy one. It is interesting, it is sad, cause the side we get to see does not succeed, but somehow I am not overly invested. I guess a lot of that has to do with the fact that these characters are just too new for me to care so much about them. I understand their rationale and their emotions, but I am just not very pro-Martell, wishing for them to get what they want, cause they all also seem like hot-tempered, scheming dicks, girls and boys alike. Nice to see them fight for gender equality, but it feels a little cosmetic to be honest.

The numbers reveal my stance, I guess, with seven points on the really good side against tow each on really bad and really undecided about. And yes, I loved it, but what do you expect. I would not go through the trouble of reviewing the fourth novel in a series if I didn’t like it (though wouldn’t that be fun? And masochistic?), so no real surprise that I am really invested in the story. Some strands of it make me fear that there’ll be events and plotlines little to my liking, but so far Martin has done an amazing job at subverting my expectations, especially my fears.
Maybe we should also start to speculate at this point, for there are several important questions that the series as a whole will have to answer.
Who is the three headed dragon to rule Westeros? Or rather, which three characters will be future kings/queens? I feel most people assume that Daenerys is a given, and so do I, but what if we are wrong? A lot of bets are placed upon Arya and let us be honest, it would kinda rule. And the third? Another stark? Jon seems like a candidate, especially with him potentially being the child of Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark, but as of now it seems more likely that he is set to defend the Wall. Bran maybe? Not unthinkable. Or someone totally else? Tyrion (though I doubt it)? Asha (though that would be a bit too much…but then again, an all female trio would be nice)? Or who knows, maybe even Brienne (which would be so freaking amazing, it hurts. Unlikely, though)? Who is your pick for future ruling trio?

Another major question is the Stark-kids business. How will they reconnect? Who will? Will Jon, Arya, Sansa, Bran and Rickon have a merry reunification at some point? Where the hell is Rickon, what is his role to play? Will Jon remain Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch til he dies? Will Bran become the messiah to some age-old religion? Will Arya become queen of Westeros? What will Sansa do? And how do their wolf-dreams play into this? They are obviously all Wargs (except for maybe Sansa), so what effect will that have and in how far will it ultimately be important to the story?

Well, I will it end it here. I know, I know. Questions over question over questions. And no answer in sight Maybe you would like to speculate in the comments?

Oh and you have to imagine a photo of me with one of the covers pictured above instead of this text here right now, because stupid me forgot to snap an effin’ picture before giving my copy away.

DIY – Refurbishing a Small Hanging Cupboard

Well, happy new year to you, too!
About some time that something pops up on this god-forsaken blog in 2012.
Today I am going to invite you into the wonderful world of Do-it-yourself realness with a little refurbishing project.

“DIY” and “Refurbishing” may seem two terms a little far-fetched. I basically took the above pictured small hanging cupboard and made it prettier. So, yes, DIY and refurbishing was involved, but I did not put together a new couch from old wine caskets and vintage army clothes. Which I will probably never do. Anyhow, The cupboard you see is something I got for free over the internet via a german site called “alles-und-umsonst” (everything and for free) and thought it looked cute and would be nice on my wall and BAM! an idea was born.

This is how rough it looked at some stage. It admittedly looked a little better before I started working on it. One of the first things I did was taking off the four plastic hooks on the bottom of it.

And I painted them in colors that fit in with my imagined color-scheme of turquoise/blue-ish.

What I needed for this project – that took me unbelievably long to finish, not because of its difficulty but because of my neverending laziness – was a few simple things:
A) My hands:

B) Some sandpaper and a scraper:

Together I applied them to the cupboard and scraped and sanded off the white lacquer. This would have been so much easier with a machine – but maybe I wouldn’t have been as proud afterwards.

Afterwards I re-painted it in bright white and bought these bathroom-glass-tiles, which were meant for decorating the front door of the cupboard.

And thanks to the wonders of hot glue these little tiles, neatly fitting in with my color-scheme, were permanently applied to the cupboard door one square at a time.

I screwed the plastic hooks back in, applied some matching paint to the door-knob and put it up on my wall.
Voilà, behold it in all its decorated and decorative glory:

And what do we think of this?

Exactly.